Author:

NJDEP Announces Change to Remediation Standards for Certain Contaminants

NJDEP Announces Change to Remediation Standards for Certain Contaminants

On September 18, 2017, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) announced updated soil remediation standards for 19 contaminants. The updates are based on changes to toxicity data for the specified contaminants maintained by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in the agency’s Integrated Risk Information System database. Responsible parties and others conducting cleanups should consult with their Licensed Site Remediation Professionals and other environmental consultants regarding the applicability of the new standards to their sites. The new standards are in effect as of September 18, 2017. A copy of the updated standards can be viewed at NJDEP’s website.

Mere Fact That Application Would Bring Development Closer Into Compliance With Zoning Code Insufficient to Warrant Grant of Site Plan Approval and Variance, N.J. Appellate Division Affirms

Mere Fact That Application Would Bring Development Closer Into Compliance With Zoning Code Insufficient to Warrant Grant of Site Plan Approval and Variance, N.J. Appellate Division Affirms

The New Jersey Appellate Division recently affirmed denial of an application for site plan approval and variance relief despite an applicant’s contention that the application’s issues identified by the Planning Board were too minor to justify denial of the application that would bring the subject property into conformity with the zoning code. Although unpublished and nonbinding, the decision confirms New Jersey courts’ broad deference to local boards in this state, making clear that if a land use board’s legitimate concerns are not addressed by an application, the mere fact that the application would bring a property into conformity with the local zoning code is insufficient to secure a variance under New Jersey’s Municipal Land Use Law. In World Wheat Foundation, Inc. v. Planning Board of the Township of Saddle River, et al., a church-based, not-for-profit organization, sought site plan approval and variance relief to convert a property that previously served as a residential facility for the elderly into a vocational school to assist Korean families with language and the arts. The previous facility ceased operations more than two years prior to the application. The property was situated in the Township’s Secondary Business Zone, in which the former residential facility was...

Do You Like What You’re Reading? Rate Our Blog: The ABA Journal’s “Web 100” Award

Do You Like What You’re Reading? Rate Our Blog: The ABA Journal’s “Web 100” Award

Thank you for visiting the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Law Alert blog! Content on our site, authored by members of the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Department, integrates topics in transactional real estate, development, and environmental law that are critical to the success of property acquisitions and dispositions, real estate financings, lease transactions, major development projects, and remediation and redevelopment of brownfield sites. How are we doing? To review our blog and nominate the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Law Alert for this year’s ABA Journal’s “Web 100” award, please visit abajournal.com/blawgs/web100 and share why you are a “fan” of our site (Please note: the voting process closes on Sunday, July 30). Thank you in advance for your support.

Turning Back the Clock: NJ Appellate Division Holds That ISRA De Minimis Quantity Exemption Still Available Following Withdrawal of NFA

Turning Back the Clock: NJ Appellate Division Holds That ISRA De Minimis Quantity Exemption Still Available Following Withdrawal of NFA

The New Jersey Appellate Division recently announced several interesting holdings regarding the New Jersey Industrial Site Recovery Act (“ISRA”), N.J.S.A. 13:1K-6, et seq. In R&K Associates, LLC v. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Docket No. A-4177-14T1, the Court held that a former owner of an industrial site may apply for an exemption from the ISRA process even when the former owner has not owned the site for many years and elected to not pursue the exemption in the past. The case concerned the final decision of the Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) denying a De Minimis Quantity Exemption (“DQE”) under ISRA to the former owner of the subject industrial site. ISRA is the New Jersey law which generally requires owners of industrial sites to remediate on-site environmental contamination or expressly assume responsibility for remediation prior to transferring an ownership of the site. A DQE under ISRA allows an owner of an industrial site to avoid the requirements of ISRA where only trivial amounts of hazardous substances were used on-site. The case has an extensive procedural history with three appeals and numerous DEP actions, beginning with DEP’s withdrawal of a 1997 No Further Action (“NFA”) letter to the former owner. When...

Gibbons Part of Team Nominated by NAIOP for Mixed-Use Deal of the Year

Gibbons Part of Team Nominated by NAIOP for Mixed-Use Deal of the Year

NAIOP New Jersey, the commercial real estate development association, has announced the finalists for its Deal of the Year Awards. Gibbons P.C. was part of the team nominated for Mixed-Use Deal of the Year for the project involving the disposition of the Hoffmann-La Roche US headquarters in Nutley and Clifton, New Jersey. Winners in the categories of Industrial Deal of the Year, Office Deal of the Year, and Mixed-Use Deal of the Year will be announced at the 30th Annual Commercial Real Estate Awards Gala on May 11, 2017. Gibbons was part of the team that led the successful sale of the former 116-acre headquarters and research and development campus of Hoffmann-La Roche, which spans the municipalities of Nutley and Clifton, to Prism Capital Partners and a Boston-based investment manager. As part of the transaction, a joint venture between Hackensack University Medical Center and Seton Hall University will lease two of the campus buildings and 16 acres of the property for the new Seton Hall–Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, the first new private medical school in New Jersey in over 40 years. The new site will also house Seton Hall’s College of Nursing and its School of Health and Medical...

EPA Agrees to Push Back Comment Deadline for Proposed Financial Assurance Regs

EPA Agrees to Push Back Comment Deadline for Proposed Financial Assurance Regs

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) recently extended the public comment period for a proposed rule which would impose financial assurances requirements for cleanups conducted by companies in the hardrock mining industry, as required by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”). In publishing the proposed rule on January 11, 2017, the EPA established a 60-day comment period for impacted parties to present their views on the rule to EPA. An overview of the financial assurance requirements imposed by CERCLA and the details of the proposed rule can be found in our prior posts on June 13, 2016 and January 4, 2017. On February 17, 2017, Congressmen Greg Walden (R-OR), Rob Bishop (R-UT), and Bill Shuster (R- PA) asked then-acting EPA Administrator Catherine McCabe to extend the comment period into the summer of 2017, citing the intricacies of the rule and complicated statistics on which EPA relied in drafting the rule. A week later, on February 24, 2017, recently confirmed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt granted the request and extended the comment period by four months, claiming that the extension was in response to dozens of requests from stakeholders, in addition to the letter from the congressmen. Comments...

Executive Order Spells Uncertainty for Pending EPA Rules

Executive Order Spells Uncertainty for Pending EPA Rules

On January 30, 2017, as promised during his campaign, President Trump signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to identify two regulations to be repealed for every new regulation that is created. The order comes on the heels of a January 20, 2017 memorandum from White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus directing agency heads to freeze new or pending regulations including those that had been finalized but not yet published in the Federal Register. The “one in, two out” rule and regulatory freeze spell uncertainty for regulations currently in the pipeline for adoption by the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), including the proposed financial assurances rules for the hardrock mining industry we have previously covered here. Other impacted EPA rule proposals include a stormwater general permit designed to reduce polluted runoff from construction sites and a rule which would include vapor intrusion as a method of evaluating contamination levels at potential Superfund sites. At present, it is unclear how the administration’s actions will ultimately impact any pending EPA regulations (or those of other federal agencies). The environmental attorneys at Gibbons P.C. will be closely monitoring any further executive action impacting proposed EPA rules and report on any important developments.

David Freeman to Speak at New York City Brownfield Partnership Seminar

David Freeman to Speak at New York City Brownfield Partnership Seminar

David J. Freeman, a Director in the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Department and Co-Chair of the Brownfields Task Force of the Environmental Law Section of the New York State Bar Association, will speak at an upcoming seminar on “New York State’s Brownfield Cleanup Program: What to Look for in 2017.” The seminar is sponsored by the New York City Brownfield Partnership and will take place on February 7 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. Mr. Freeman and other panel members will review the major changes to the Program made by the 2015 amendments to the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Act, including the new definition of “brownfield site”; new deadlines for admission to the Program and for issuance of Certificates of Completion; new rules and DEC procedures with respect to costs that qualify for site preparation tax credits; and restrictions on tangible property credits for properties in New York City, including DEC’s new definition of an “underutilized” site.

EPA Proposes First Financial Assurances Rule 0

EPA Proposes First Financial Assurances Rule

On December 1, 2016, following decades of inaction and a court order establishing a deadline by which the proposed rule was to be released, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced that it would publish a proposed rule regulating financial assurances required for parties conducting remediation projects in the hardrock mining industry. Section 108(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) directed EPA to develop rules requiring “that classes of facilities establish and maintain evidence of financial responsibility consistent with the degree and duration of risk associated with the production, transportation, treatment, storage, or disposal of hazardous wastes.” 42 U.S.C. 9608(b)(1). Although these rules were required to be promulgated by 1985, EPA never published any rules, which led to a deadline of December 1, 2016 being set by court order in response to a lawsuit complaining that EPA failed to comply with the statute. See In re Idaho Conservation League, 811 F.3d 502 (D.C. Cir. 2016). In the absence of such rules, EPA required financial assurance through negotiated settlements, orders, and guidance.

Russell Bershad Named to the NJBIZ Real Estate Power List 0

Russell Bershad Named to the NJBIZ Real Estate Power List

Russell B. Bershad, Co-Chair of the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Department, has been named to the NJBIZ Real Estate Power 75, a list of the most powerful people in New Jersey real estate. Mr. Bershad appeared for the first time this year, ranking 55th on the list. NJBIZ notes, “Russ Bershad is a newcomer to the list. But, according to one fan, he’s been in the mix for quite some time. ‘He was involved in the Roche deal, he represents David Barry in Jersey City. He’s doing a lot of good things there.’ Said another: ‘You know every detail is going to be pored over when you hire Russ.’ Said another: ‘If you’re going to add more lawyers to the list, and that’s a good idea, Russ is one of the people you need to have.’”